Magic: The Gathering’s official new mulligan rule explained


Wizards of the Coast have formally updated the rules for mulliganing in Magic: The Gathering, following months of internal and external testing.

Mulliganing, the process whereby one (or all) players may redraw their starting hand at the cost of drawing one less card each time, has been part of Magic for time immemorial — but Wizards’ Aaron Forsythe explains that “when players had to take mulligans, too many of those games would be very lopsided, with one player barely participating before losing.”

“Our goal with changing the rule was to reduce the number of games that didn’t actually feel like games, and to give players more agency when faced with the difficult choice of starting a game down cards.”

The new rule allows players who do mulligan to scry 1 — to look at the top card of their library before the game begins. It’s a simple change, but it makes a big difference. Here’s the new mulligan rule in its entirety:

103.4. Each player draws a number of cards equal to his or her starting hand size, which is normally seven. (Some effects can modify a player’s starting hand size.) A player who is dissatisfied with his or her initial hand may take a mulligan. First, the starting player declares whether or not he or she will take a mulligan. Then each other player in turn order does the same. Once each player has made a declaration, all players who decided to take mulligans do so at the same time. To take a mulligan, a player shuffles his or her hand back into his or her library, then draws a new hand of one fewer cards than he or she had before. If a player kept his or her hand of cards, those cards become the player’s opening hand, and that player may not take any further mulligans. This process is then repeated until no player takes a mulligan. (Note that if a player’s hand size reaches zero cards, that player must keep that hand.) Then, beginning with the starting player and proceeding in turn order, any player whose opening hand has fewer cards than his or her starting hand size may scry 1.

The rule goes into official, formal use worldwide starting with Battle for Zendikar.

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